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Australian art

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(circa 1922)


Grace Cossington Smith


1892 - 20 Dec 1984


Cossington Smith captures the drama of a crowd in 'Rushing', which depicts commuters clamouring down to the ferries of Circular Quay to get home after work. The flying scarf and fallen hat emphasise the speed at which the travellers are moving and the peril and claustrophobia of a, mostly faceless, city crowd. The steep gangplank and diagonal composition accentuates the dynamism of the painting.

A brilliant colourist, Cossington Smith’s work of the early 1920s adopts a darker palette than the vivid colours she is usually associated with. Inspired by a visit to Sydney in 1920 by the tonalist painter and teacher Max Meldrum, her paintings became studies in tone, rather than colour, a practice she had abandoned by 1925.



(circa 1922)

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas on paperboard


65.6 x 91.3 cm board; 82.3 x 106.9 x 4.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, black oil "G.COSSINGTON.SMITH". Not dated.


Purchased 1967


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Grace Cossington Smith

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 11 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 21 publications


Robin Bruckner, Art and Design Book 1, Sydney, 1995, 129 (illus.).

Louise Chamberlin, Art In Sight, Sydney, 1996, 141, 144, 145, 149, 151, 155, 171.

Deborah Edwards., Australian Collection Focus: Grace Cossington Smith The Lacquer Room 1935-36, 'Secular light and the curve of the chairs', Sydney, 1999.

Graham Ferres and Susan Ferres, Mouse Art: Creating Art On The Computer, Sydney, 1998, (colour illus.). plate no. 12; NOTE: image located between pages 56-57

Deborah Hart, Grace Cossington Smith, 'A room of her own', pg. 11-25, Canberra, 2005, 21 (colour illus.), 22, 113, 114 (colour illus.), 127-128, 175.

Bruce James, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 40-51, Sydney, 2000, 43.

Bruce James, Grace Cossington Smith, 'Centre of a city', pg. 53-61, Sydney, 1990, 54, 55 (colour illus.), 161. plate no. 18

Craig Judd, Viewpoints: visual arts case studies, 'Aspects of figuration in Australian art 1788-1996', pg. 61-77, Port Melbourne, 1998, 71 (colour illus.). 7.10

Brian Ladd and Alan Krell, The Artist & the City, Sydney, 1983, 6, 7 (illus.). 4

D.H. Lawrence, Kangaroo, London, 1997, front cover (illus.).

Tony Lenten, City art, Victoria, 1978, 29 (illus.).

Robert Lindsay., Aspects of Australian Art: Art Gallery of New South Wales travelling art exhibition 1976, 'Grace Cossington Smith', Sydney, 1976, (illus.). 31; not paginated

Denise Mimmocchi, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Making Sydney modern: the artistic shaping of the postwar city', pg. 66-85, Sydney, 2013, 83 (colour illus.), 316.

Drusilla Modjeska, Stravinsky's lunch, 'To Paint What She Saw: Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 203-334, Sydney, 1999, (colour illus.). plate no. 23

John Slater, Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'Continuity and change', pg. 35-70, Melbourne, 2004, 69, 70, 98, 99 (colour illus.), 100. 81

Ann Stephen, Modern times: the untold story of modernism in Australia, '6 The body at the scene of Modernism', pg. 44-55, Sydney, 2008, 45 (colour illus., detail), 46 (colour illus.).

Daniel Thomas, Art and Australia, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 300-312, Sydney, Mar 1967, (illus.).

Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 510-521, Sydney, Jan 1970, 516 (illus.), 517.

Donald Williams, In our own image: the story of Australian art, Sydney, 1995, 103 (colour illus.).

1967 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1967, 21. 25

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Australasian, Melbourne, 18 Aug 1923, page unknown. Review of the 'Royal Art Society of New South Wales 44th Annual Exhibition' held at the Department of Public Instruction, 11 August 1923, 90 'Rushing' 15 guineas.